Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Painting on the Road: Rain, rain go away!

40 lbs. of gear! 
We recently returned from a one-month trip to the United Kingdom (Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England). I took my usual gear: Rick Steves Convertible Carry-On backpack for clothing and necessities and a front-pack with painting supplies. The total weight was just under 40 lbs. My art pack included a 13" x 10" x 5.25" wooden pochade box manufactured by Guerrilla Painter  loaded with pastels, paper, and tools. I love this box and it's accompanied me on many fabulous trips! My art pack also includes a sketchbook, apron, baby wipes, and a small set of watercolors and watercolor postcards (sometimes I like to mail original art postcards.)  Taking a heavy art pack is a big commitment, but I really enjoy "painting on the road" so it's usually worth the effort.  This trip, however, I questioned my decision because it rained 24 of the days we were gone, including a couple days with snow and/or hail! And let's not forget winds of up to 50 mph! Needless to say, I did not do much painting. But I did carry my art pack on a long, somewhat steep hike to Fyrish Monument near Inverness, Scotland one gray day and managed to get a bit of work done between sprinkles. Even though the weather on this trip was lousy, the scenery was stunning--especially in Scotland and Wales-- and I took lots of "atmospheric" photos that may one day become the basis for studio paintings.

Painting along the trail to Fyrish Monument in the Scottish Highlands

Pastels dissolve in the rain, so I'd better hurry!
Fyrish Monument (built 1782), Alness, Easter Ross, Scotland

15 lbs. of art supplies x 8 miles + rain + wind = 20 minutes of painting. Fun? Yes!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ritz Story Pole, a community art project

Alan Peroutka, Geraldine Moreno Black and Ed Black view Ritz Story Pole.
The Ritz Story Pole is a community art project taking place at The Oregon Country Fair with funding through Indiegogo. As of this writing, $16,965 (37%) has been raised of the $46,000 goal with only 16 days remaining. Your donation of any size will help complete, engineer and stand this monumental work of art which is a testimonial to vision, planning, cooperation, and determination. For three years carvers, painters, metal workers, amateurs and professionals have been working on this one-of-a-kind, 36 ft. Story Pole designed for the 21st century. Inspired by Northwest Coastal art, there are 21 totemic characters represented on an 8,000 lb. Alaskan Yellow Cedar log that was sustainably harvested with the approval of First Nations and the Canadian Provincial Government of British Columbia. My connection to this project is through my friend Ed Black who's been involved with the Ritz Sauna and Showers and the Oregon Country Fair for about fifteen years. The concept of crowd funding for community projects fascinates me. As a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, I've been interested in Native American art for many years and gained a special appreciation for it during a trip to Alaska in 2008. Since then I've become familiar with Canadian artist Emily Carr, whom I've written about previously. I think her 1924 painting "Gitwinkool Totem Poles" is spectacular.
Totems seen in Alaska (can't remember where!) in 2008.
Emily Carr "Gitwinkool Totem Poles" 1924

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Five-hour pop-up art show in Eugene

"Quiet Field" received much positive feedback.
When my friend architect Will Dixon suggested that I display my work at his office during Eugene's Last Thursday Artwalk on May 30, I felt honored to have been invited, given that Will has discerning taste in art and comes from a family of artists. (His father Willard Dixon is a well-known Bay Area painter and his sister Sophia Dixon Dillo is an innovative light installation artist.) Over a couple-month period I prepared work that fit my theme of "Light and Water" while my husband, Alan, helped by matting and framing the paintings. On the appointed day we loaded up the van, drove two hours to Eugene, set up the show, and from 5PM-10PM visited with old friends and met a whole lot of new people, too. Will said it was the best turnout he's had for a Last Friday show at his office. What was fascinating to me was how many insightful things people had to say about my work, even though many of them proclaimed they "knew nothing about art." Yet, most of those I spoke with identified, appreciated, and articulated the exact qualities or concepts I had in my head while painting! It was a deeply satisfying experience to connect so strongly and intimately with people through my art. The cherry-on-the-top was that I sold three paintings.

"Light on the Trail" was also well-received.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Water and Light" show in Eugene on May 30, one evening only

"Sunny Field" / pastel / 7x9
My friend Will Dixon invited me to show some of my work at his office, Willard C. Dixon, Architect,  during Eugene's Last Friday Artwalk on Friday, May 30. The address is 300 Blair Blvd. My work will be on display for that evening only between 5:00 and 9:00 PM. Please stop by to see what I've been doing lately, learn more about the amazing medium of soft pastel, and enjoy some refreshments. The show's theme is "Water and Light." Will is a talented architect and all-around great guy and you can meet him and learn about his projects, too.

The two paintings shown here will be on display. Although both are painted with pastels, they have very different moods. "Sunny Field" with its bold, bright colors and assertive mark-making was painted on location in Portugal's Peneda-Geres National Park, with final touches added after I returned home. "Fall Fantasy" depicts a scene in Shelton, Washington, and has a kind of shimmering mysticism conveyed by lighter strokes and a softer palette.  I hope to see you on May 30.
"Fall Fantasy" / pastel / 9x7

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What is it about chickens?

"Comb Over" / pastel / 9.5x7
Whenever I go to the fair I love to visit the chickens with all their color combinations and feather styles, bright floppy combs, and non-stop chicken chatter. Raising chickens in your backyard has become a popular urban activity and in Portland you can have up to three in your yard without a permit. The neighbors behind us have chickens and I enjoy hearing them cluck around doing their chickenly business. I eat an egg almost every day for breakfast so maybe I should get a chicken. But I travel a lot and then I'd have to get a chicken-sitter so I guess that's out. The models for today's paintings come from my daughter and her family's farm in Shelton, Washington. Although they seem a little curious about my motives, I have nothing but admiration for my fine feathered friends.

"The Line Up" / pastel / 7x9.5
"Me and My Shadow" / pastel / 7x9.5

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Painting on the Road: The long way home

After a ten-hour flight from Santiago we had a ten-hour layover at the Dallas Fort Worth airport before we could board yet another plane for the remaining 3.5 hr. flight home to Portland.  To make our layover at DFW as painless as possible we decided to buy one-day pass to the American Airlines Admirals Club but they were having a special and for the same price ($50 per person) we got a one-month pass. We don't have any plans to fly anywhere else in the coming month but you never know. DFW is such a big airport that American actually has three Admirals Clubs there. What's an Admirals Club, you might wonder? It's a set of clean, comfortable, lounging rooms with free wi-fi, food, beverages, showers and other amenities; some even have kids' playrooms. We didn't need that particular amenity this trip but I thought some of you might find it useful information. The Admirals Club is also a good spot to sketch fellow travelers, or even your own hand if you get desperate. The squiggly thing on my wrist is my hair scrunchy. And yes, my hands really do look that gnarly.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Painting on the Road: Northern Argentina, gauchos and knives

Alan, the Andes, and the Calchaquies Valley
While based in Salta in northwestern Argentina we took two guided tours. The first was to Cafayate and other locations in the central Calchaquies Valley.The wide, flat valley floods seasonally and leaves soft creamy greens hanging onto the last drops of moisture to await the next rainy season. At Garganta del Diablo, Devil's Throat Canyon, we watched shadows play on the walls and marvelled at the scale. (Watch for these scenes to appear in future paintings.) A couple days later we visited Jujuy Province and the towns of Purmamarca, Uquia, and Humahuaca. Our driver, Federico Teruel, has many talents, including crafting artisan knives or "cuchilleria artesanal", and explained that knives are an essential part of the gaucho culture in the Salta region. There are two main styles: the salteno dagger is shorter and used for everyday purposes, whereas the longer, more decorative facon criollo is used ceremonially. An annual parade of 2,000 gauchos in Salta every June 17 commemorates General Martin Miguel de Guemes, whom  I wrote about in a previous post. Many people in Salta are proud to be part of the gaucho culture that is an important part of the military history of Argentina. It's always pleasant to meet other artists when I travel, and if you check out Federico's website you'll see he is a master of his craft.
Headed toward the light  
Artisan knife by Federico Teruel